A riot in a prison in Bolivia has left at least 31 inmates dead and dozens more injured.
The violence started when two rival gangs began fighting with each other in the prison located in Bolivia’s lowlands. Palmasola is a maximum-security prison outside the regional capital of Santa Cruz.
The incident also left 60 people injured, when inmates in one cell block attacked a neighboring cell block with knives, machetes, and canisters of gas, said Interior Minister Carlos Romero.
The clashes ended in a fire and Romero said that the inmates were trapped by the flames. The latest victim passed away on Saturday morning, bringing the death toll to 31.
ABC reports that an 18-month-old toddler was among those killed. In Bolivia, children of inmates are allowed to live in the prison with their parents.
The United Nations complained to Bolivia two months ago about the law that lets kids up to 6-years-old stay with prisoners.
The Interior Minister added that the inmates at the Bolivia prison were fighting over leadership and overcrowding.
Authorities took several hours to put out the fire which took place in a wing that houses some of the most dangerous prisoners being held.
The majority of the victims were found in the second story of the building.
Maria Inez Galvez, of Bolivia’s Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, told The Associated Press that there weren’t enough police to control the violent inmates and help take victims to the hospital.
As in many Latin American countries, inmates run the prisons on the inside, there is not respected authority.
Palmasola is not different. The prison housed about 3,500 inmates with four out of five still awaiting trial.
Jorge Perez, a government official, says the bodies of the dead at the Bolivian prison are being taken to the morgue in order to undergo autopsies.